Class of 2016: Alec Hartman Gives Back

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Alec Hartman

When Alec Hartman entered USD as a freshman four years ago, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Beginning his college career as an electrical engineering major, Alec quickly realized that his heart belonged to a different study: theology. In Spring 2013 he took a leap of faith and became a Theology minor and Political Science minor. Shortly after, he switched to a double major in both studies and nothing has ever been the same.

Alec’s desire to study Theology came from a desire to better serve his community.

“My time with University Ministry [at USD] nurtured my faith and helped me solidify what I truly believe by putting my faith into action. The way I carry out my faith is very much through my relationships with other humans and community. Learning more about that in theology classes was a huge step for me.”

Even though Alec hasn’t always been certain about his career path, his faith has never been in question. In fact, his involvement in University Ministry began before he had ever stepped foot on campus as a student.

“I went on the Pre-O retreat, which takes place before school starts, and from day one, I knew I had found my community. [University Ministry] was my biggest commitment and also my most fulfilling one. My friends from there have been my friends throughout my entire time at USD and beyond.”

Alec’s involvement in University Ministry also paved the way for his next adventure: the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

During his first month at USD, Alec jumped headfirst into the Tijuana Day Trip as a volunteer and the experience opened his eyes to a new way of serving.

“I went on a day trip to Tijuana through University Ministry and it opened my eyes to what life is like in impoverished areas. The biggest take away I had was that there are people in horribly difficult situations, but there is never a lack of hope.”

Alec eventually went on to attend an extended version of the trip, University Ministry's annual Spring Breakthrough, and served as a group leader. His experiences in Mexico ultimately paved the way toward the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Starting in August, Alec will be serving as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Nashville. He will be living in community with other volunteers and working at a homeless shelter for men.

Alec’s goals for his year of service are similar to the goals of the program, “… to care for and help the people while building community, living simply, exploring systemic issues and building my faith.”

After his year of service, Alec plans to attend Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry.

While at USD, Alec received the university's Alcala Award at graduation in May. He was awarded the Dr. Jospeh Colombo Award by the Theology and Religious Studies Department and last fall he was chosen as the Matthew 25 Award winner for compassionate service through Catholic Charities of the Diocese of San Diego.

As Alec now prepares for his next chapter, he has some words of encouragement to leave behind for the next generation of Toreros.

“I would encourage incoming students to not be afraid to let others in. But even beyond that, be gentle with yourself along the journey. There are a lot of obstacles that might arise and that’s okay. You’re in the right place and doing a great job just as you are.”

— Taylor Milam

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